Most of us are tied down to a particular location because of our present job. Once we leave formal employment, it's time to give relocation some serious thought. Most Americans tend to stay put in their current area after retirement. After spending years building a local network of friends and routines, it's difficult to just pick up and move. However, my family moved quite often when I was young, so relocation is not a big deal for me. Here are some locations that I'm considering for retirement:
Thailand. The cost of living in Thailand is much more affordable than the U.S. The people are friendly, and I love Thai food. Bangkok is too chaotic, but Chiang Mai in the north or Krabi in the south are two great locations to consider. The climate in Chiang Mai is cooler than Bangkok, and it is an urban area with many things to do. Krabi, on the other hand, is much quieter, and the beaches are great. Thailand is a great spot for me because I have some relatives there and I can speak the language a little bit.
Belize. This small country is immediately south of Mexico on the Caribbean coast. English is the official language, and the landscape varies from jungle to beaches. Belize is a tropical paradise with an annual average temperature of 79 degrees Fahrenheit. The Belize barrier reef is the 2nd largest in the world and offers great snorkeling and diving. If you have $2,000 per month in income from a pension or annuity, you might qualify for their retiree program. The country is relatively close to the U.S., so it is easy to travel back and forth to visit family or for a medical procedure. However, the health care system in Belize is not as advanced as the U.S., so this might not be a good choice if you have any health conditions.
Hawaii. I have been to Hawaii a few times, and I love the island atmosphere. Life is laid back, and it's still a part of the U.S. The cost of living is higher than on the mainland, but they have discount stores like Walmart and Costco, which can help with groceries and other household items. The weather is great, and it would be an easy transition to make. The sticking point is the cost of living. Unless you live in San Francisco or New York, the cost of housing and groceries will be a shock.
I still need to investigate these locations more before I make any relocation decisions. Health care is a big issue and needs to be thoroughly researched before relocating to another country. The cost of living is another factor to weigh. It will be difficult to move to an area with a higher cost of living once your income drops after retirement. It's best to make an extended visit before making any big moves. I think three to six months is about the right amount of time to try out a location before committing.
Joe Udo is planning an exit strategy from his corporate job by reducing expenses and increasing passive income. He blogs about his journey to early retirement at Retire by 40.